The Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) says it has received reports that Sanral-contracted officers have set up roadblocks at multiple locations around the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).
The JPSA said that the Gauteng Department of Community Safety officers, contracted to Sanral, used branded e-toll trucks to stop motorists and ask the following questions:
- Why they don’t have an e-tag;
- Why they are driving on the e-toll roads without having an e-tag; and
- Recording their name and ID number.
Last month (May), Sanral denied reports that it, in conjunction with the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) stopped motorists to check whether they were e-tagged.
“We categorically deny that there is any partnership with the JMPD on this. No vehicles on any road are being checked to see whether they are e-tag registered. The JPMD has in the past distanced itself from this and so did we,” Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona said.
The roads agency stressed that acquiring an e-tag is optional and no road user should be stopped for having no e-tag.
“There could be people who are doing this illegally in our name, or it is one of those urban legends now gaining a life of its own,” Mona said.
JPSA said it has been in touch with a senior officer from the Gauteng Department of Community Safety, Gauteng Traffic Police, seconded to Sanral, to ascertain the truth about the roadblocks.
JPSA national chairman, Howard Dembovsky, said that the group “has been assured that all of the exercises in the Northern parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria are purely looking for defective number plates, licence discs and other vehicle/driver defects.”
He said that the presence of Sanral’s heavily branded orange e-tolls trucks at all of these exercises has created what can only be described as a “mass panic” amongst motorists, many of whom have assumed that they are there to enforce outstanding e-tolls.
“Sanral has repeatedly engaged in propaganda and intimidation exercises in order to try to force motorists to get e-tags and register with them and it would be naïve at best to think that they would not take full advantage of the psychological effect it can have on motorists by having these trucks accompany legitimate law enforcement exercises,” Dembovsky said.